Researchers from Fraunhofer have derived film formers for paint using potato starch. Although there has been numerous attempts to use “organic” components as a base for paint, none have proved to be at par with industry standards. This step from the science community at Fraunhofer has allowed us to have an insight towards creating true “natural” coating products that leaves no bad effects to the environment. Diminishing resources, climate issues, and the health of the environment have all been taken into account in the creation of this research paper.
Previously, paint binders made with bio-based ingredients were very expensive and mostly sub-standard. That’s why the research team created a modified starch to counter those issues. The potato starch-based paint proves to be both cost-efficient and sustainable at the same time. In Germany alone, over 100,000 tons of coating material are manufactured to protect against corrosion. This breakthrough can prove a significant amount of benefits towards different avenues of the industry.
Using the starch as the main component for paint and varnishes has challenged the minds at Fraunhofer. As a film former, it must uphold standards such as forming a continuous film, can be used with different layers, and has the ability to be embedded with pigments and fillers easily. Unmodified, starch counteracts every single property that a film former should have, according to Christina Gabriel, scientist at Fraunhofer in Potsdam-Golm. “it is not soluble in cold water and neither does it form continuous, non-brittle films,” she described.
This led the team to create modified starch that can withstand these situations and still prove to be a cost-effective solution while being renewable as well. Currently, the researchers have applied an initial degradation step to the potato starch in order to fix its solubility. This enhances the forming ability of the starch as well as allowing the solids of the starch to incorporate better in water. Afterwards, the starch undergoes esterification, creating starch esters that creates consistent films and allows it to stick on glass and aluminum surfaces. The research is providing very promising results and is showing as a promising alternative to petroleum-based film formers.